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SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM, vs.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM

The Social Security System (SSS) filed against the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Register of Deeds of Marikina City
and several farmers-beneficiaries, a complaint (Civil Case No. 1300-97)[1] for Annulment of Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs)
No. 1259, No. 1260, and No. 1261 with Recovery of Possession and prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Mateo, Rizal, Branch 75.

In its Complaint, the SSS alleged it is the absolute owner of several parcels of land located at Rodriguez, Rizal, with an area of
more or less three hundred hectares. The said property was covered under Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Program [CARP]) by the DAR. The SSS earlier filed a case for conversion of the land, from agricultural to residential and
other urban uses, before the DAR’s Adjudicatory Board which was denied by the DAR on 22 March 1990.[2] Undaunted, the SSS
filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Review on Certiorari, CA-G.R. SP No. 38043 which was dismissed on 31 August
1995.[3] The SSS elevated the case to this Court on Petition for Review on Certiorari, G.R. No. 122580, which was again denied for
failure to comply with Circular No. 1-88,[4] it appearing that petitioner SSS failed to submit a verified statement of material dates
to determine the timeliness of the filing of the petition and the timeliness of the payment of legal fees as required by par. 4 of the
said circular.[5] Its motion for reconsideration was denied in a resolution of this Court dated 27 March 1996.[6] The denial has
become final and executory and Entry of Judgment was issued on 27 June 1996.[7]

Meanwhile, DAR issued Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to some 201 persons identified as farmers-beneficiaries of
the land on 23 December 1991. On 11 July 1997,[8] the defendants filed a joint motion to dismiss claiming that jurisdiction over
the case falls with the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB). In an Order dated 12 March 1999, the RTC[9]
granted the joint motion to dismiss.[10] From this Order, the SSS is now before us arguing that the RTC erred in holding it has no
jurisdiction over the case.[11]

In a resolution dated 16 August 1999, this Court denied the Petition for failure of the petitioner to serve a copy thereof to the
respondent court.[12]

The SSS filed a motion for reconsideration.[13] In a resolution dated 20 October 1999, this Court resolved to grant the motion and
required the respondents to comment on the Petition.[14]

On 10 August 2000, respondents farmers-beneficiaries filed their compliance.[15] From a resolution dated 27 November 2000, the
parties were required to file their respective Memorandum.[16]

Insisting on the jurisdiction of the trial court over the case, the SSS averred that the issue raised before the trial court was not the
issuance of the CLOAs, nor the coverage or exemption of the SSS from the CARP, but the illegality or lack of legal basis of the
cancellation of a valid torrens title in the name of the SSS which led to the issuance of TCTs No. 1259, No. 1260 and No. 1261 in
favor of the farmers-beneficiaries, without notice and just compensation. It asserts that the jurisdiction of the DARAB pertains to
agrarian disputes which does not obtain in the case at bar. It points out that under Chapter V, Section 16(f) of Rep. Act No. 6657,
jurisdiction is with the RTC.[17]

On the other hand, negating it has jurisdiction over the case, the trial court held:

The primordial issue to by (sic) resolved is the jurisdiction of the DARAB which defendants-movants argue to have jurisdiction over
the case. Under Rule 11, Section 1(F) of the DARAB New Rules of Procedure the board has jurisdiction over cases “involving the
issuance, correction and cancellation of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) and Emancipation Patents (EPs) which are
registered with the Land Registration Authority.” The present case was filed by plaintiff SSS precisely to annul Certificate of Title
Nos. 1259, 1260 and 1261 which, as pointed out by defendants-movants, emanated from CLOAs issued by the Department of
Agrarian Reform. The present case ultimately involves CLOAs and is, therefore, within the jurisdiction of the DARAB. In fine, since
SSS seeks annulment of the above-mentioned titles which emanated from CLOAs, the proper venue for the present case is the
DARAB.

As to the argument raised by the SSS regarding the nature of the land, suffice it to say that since plaintiff itself has filed a petition
with the DAR for conversion of the classification of the subject parcel of land from agricultural to residential land, it has expressly
recognized that said parcels of land to be agricultural land. This being the case, said parcels of land are under the jurisdiction of
DARAB because under Section 4 of R.A. 6657 “all public and private agricultural land” are covered by CARP and all disputes
involving lands covered by the CARP are within the jurisdiction of the DARAB.

SSS should not be allowed in one breath to invoke the jurisdiction of the DARAB and then, after failing to obtain the relief it
sought, assail the same and now claim that jurisdiction rests with the regular courts. It should be noted at this point that the
application for conversion filed by the SSS had been finally disposed off by no less tha[n] the Supreme Court.[18]

The Petition lacks merit.

Irrefragably, the titles sought to be annulled by the SSS, namely, TCTs No. 1259, No. 1260 and No. 1261 originated from the
CLOAs issued by the DAR in pursuance of, and in accordance with, the provisions of Rep. Act No. 6657, the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program.

Specifically, the SSS in its Complaint implored the trial court “to restrain the DAR from implementing Rep. Act No. 6657 and the
defendants, farmers-beneficiaries from occupying/tilling, cultivating /disposing the properties.”[19]

Section 1, Rule II, 2002 DARAB Rules of Procedure provides that:

Section 1. Primary And Exclusive Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. – The board shall have primary and exclusive jurisdiction,
both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving the implementation of the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Order Nos. 228, 229, and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844
as amended by Republic Act No. 6389, Presidential Decree No. 27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and
regulations. Specifically, such jurisdiction shall include but not be limited to cases involving the following:

a) The rights and obligations of persons, whether natural or juridical engaged in the management, cultivation and use of all
agricultural lands covered by the CARP and other agrarian laws.

Specifically, such jurisdiction shall extend over but not limited to the following:
f) Cases involving the issuance of Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT), Certificate of landownership Award (CLOA) and Emancipation
Patent (EP) and the administrative correction thereof; (Italics added)

Thus, taking its bearings from the above provision, Centeno v. Centeno[20] explicitly and compellingly validated the jurisdiction of
the DARAB over cases involving issuance of CLOAs, and went on further:

. . . under Section 50 of R.A. 6657 (the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988), the DAR is vested with primary jurisdiction
to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have the exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving the
implementation of the agrarian reform program. The rule is that the DARAB has jurisdiction to try and decide any agrarian
dispute or any incident involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. (Italics supplied)

Section 1, Rule II of the Revised Rules of Procedure of the DARAB provides:

Section 1. Primary, Original and Appellate Jurisdiction. – The Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board shall have primary jurisdiction,
both original and appellate, to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or incidents
involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program under Republic Act No. 6657, Executive Orders
Nos. 229, 228 and 129-A, Republic Act No. 3844 as amended by Republic Act No. 6389, Presidential Decree No. 27 and other
agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations.

In the relatively recent case of Rivera v. Del Rosario,[21] this Court cited Section 1, Rule II, 2002 DARAB Rules of Procedure and
reiterated that:

The DARAB has exclusive original jurisdiction over cases involving the rights and obligations of persons engaged in the
management, cultivation and use of all agricultural lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law.

Again in David v. Rivera,[22] this Court pointed out that the jurisdiction over agrarian reform matters is now expressly vested in
the DAR through the DARAB.

Indeed, Section 50 of R.A. 6657 confers on the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) quasi-judicial powers to adjudicate agrarian
reform matters. In the process of reorganizing the DAR, Executive Order No. 129-A created the DARAB to assume the powers and
functions with respect to the adjudication of agrarian reform cases. Section 1, Rule II of the DARAB Rules of Procedure
enumerates the cases falling within the primary and exclusive jurisdiction of the DARAB.

In an earlier ruling rendered in the case of Vda. de Tangub v. Court of Appeals,[23] reiterated in Morta, Sr. v. Occidental[24] and
Heirs of the late Herman Rey Santos v. Court of Appeals,[25] this Court decreed:

Section 1 of Executive Order No. 229 sets out the scope of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP); it states that the
program –

“. . . shall cover, regardless of tenurial arrangement and commodity produce, all public and private agricultural land as provided
in Proclamation No. 131 dated July 22, 1987, including whenever applicable in accordance with law, other lands of the public
domain suitable to agriculture.”

Section 17 thereof

1) vested the Department of Agrarian Reform with “quasi-judicial powers to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters,”
and

2) granted it “jurisdiction over all matters involving implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive
original jurisdiction of the DENR and the Department of Agriculture (DA), as well as `powers to punish for contempt and to issue
subpoena, subpoena duces tecum and writs to enforce its orders or decisions.’”[26]

In Nuesa v. Court of Appeals,[27] the Court, in addition to re-echoing the jurisdiction of the DARAB, puts emphasis on the extent of
the coverage of the term “agrarian dispute,” thus:

As held by this Court in Centeno v. Centeno [343 SCRA 153], “the DAR is vested with the primary jurisdiction to determine and
adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have the exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of the
agrarian reform program.” The DARAB has primary, original and appellate jurisdiction “to determine and adjudicate all agrarian
disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or incidents involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program under R.A. 6657, E.O. Nos. 229, 228 and 129-A, R.A. 3844 as amended by R.A. 6389, P.D. No. 27 and other agrarian laws
and their implementing rules and regulations.”

Under Section 3(d) of R.A. 6657 (CARP Law), “agrarian dispute” is defined to include “(d). . . any controversy relating to tenurial
arrangements, whether leasehold, tenancy, stewardship or otherwise over lands devoted to agriculture, including disputes
concerning farmworkers associations or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing or seeking to
arrange terms or conditions of such tenurial arrangements. It includes any controversy relating to compensation of lands
acquired under this Act and other terms and conditions of transfer of ownership from landowners to farmworkers, tenants and
other agrarian reform beneficiaries, whether the disputants stand in the proximate relation of farm operator and beneficiary,
landowner and tenant, or lessor and lessee.” (Underlining ours)

In the light of the foregoing, and guided by the pronouncements made by this Court in the cases cited above, we find that the trial
court correctly ruled that the DARAB has jurisdiction to hear and decide the case of herein petitioner SSS.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for review is DENIED for lack of merit.

GSIS vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ROSA BALAIS


This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to annul and set aside decision 1 rendered by the Court of Appeals dated October
17, 1994 which reversed the decision issued by the Employees. Compensation Commission (ECC) in ECC Case No. 6462 dated
November 17, 1993, affirming the decision of petitioner Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) that private respondent
Rosa Balais is not entitled to conversion of compensation benefits from partial disability for a 9-month period after retirement to
total disability.

Private respondent started working as an emergency employee of the National Housing Authority (NHA) in 1952. She then rose
from the ranks until she was promoted to Chief Paying Cashier in 1984. 2

Medical records disclose that on December 17, 1989, private respondent suddenly experienced chills, followed by loss of
consciousness. She was brought to the Capitol Medical Center where she was sedated but allowed to go home after three hours.
Later, on the same day, however, she vomited several times and suffered from parie-occipital pains. She was again rushed to
U.E.R.M. Medical Center where she underwent a thorough medical examination. She was diagnosed be suffering from
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Secondary to Ruptured Aneurysm. After undergoing craniotomy, she was finally discharged from the
hospital January 20, 1990. 3

Despite her operation, private respondent could not perform her duties as efficiently as she had done prior to her illness. This
forced her to retire
early from the government service on March 1, 1990 at the age of sixty-two (62) years. 4

On March 13, 1990, private respondent filed a claim for disability benefits with the GSIS for the above-described ailment. Her
illness was evaluated as compensable by the GSIS Medical Evaluation and Underwriting Group. Accordingly, the GSIS granted her
temporary total disability (TTD) benefits for the period starting from December 17, 1989 to January 31, 1990 and subsequently,
permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for nine months starting on March 2, 1990. 5

In a letter dated November 17, 1992, private respondent requested the GSIS for the conversion of the classification of her
disability benefits from permanent partial disability (PPD) to permanent total disability (PTD). 6

Such plea, however, was denied by the GSIS in a letter dated December 8, 1992 on the ground that the GSIS Medical Evaluation
and Underwriting Department which evaluated her claim found no basis to alter its findings. She was informed that the results of
the physical examination conducted on June 5, 1990 did not satisfy the criteria for permanent total disability. Moreover, she was
told that the pension granted to her was the maximum benefit due her under the Rating Schedule established by the ECC. 7

The denial of her request then prompted private respondent to file on May 4, 1993 a request for reconsideration of the earlier
denial of her application for the conversion of her disability benefits from permanent partial disability to permanent total
disability, explaining that since the time of her operation she continued to suffer from dizziness, headaches, loss of memory and
inability to properly sleep. Moreover, she contended that there were instances when she felt extremely weak and could not walk
without support. She further stated that she was required to take medication for life. 8

The GSIS, however, denied reconsideration which denial was later on affirmed on appeal by the ECC in its decision dated
November 17, 1993. 9

Undaunted, private respondent filed a petition for review with the Court of Appeals, which promulgated a decision favorable to her
on October 17, 1994.

Petitioner GSIS now comes to this Court by way of a petition for review on certiorari alleging that the Court of Appeals erred:

1. In reversing and setting aside the decision of the Employees' Compensation Commission which affirmed the
decision of herein petitioner GSIS.

2. In considering the ailment of Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Secondary to Ruptured Aneurysm as permanent total
disability. 11

The sole issue to be resolved here is whether private respondent is entitled to conversion of her benefits from permanent partial
disability to permanent total disability.

Both petitioner and the Solicitor General argue against private respondent's request for the conversion of her disability benefits
on the ground that she had already been awarded the benefits commensurate to the degree of her physical condition at the time
of her retirement. They contend that her ailment Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Secondary to Ruptured Aneurysm only entitled her to
receive benefits for permanent partial disability and such illness does not satisfy the criteria for permanent total disability.
Furthermore, they aver that private respondent's request for conversion cannot be granted because other than alleging
abnormalities and non-improvement of memory she failed to show sufficient medical basis that would warrant said conversion.

Petitioner also maintains that, although private respondent was awarded permanent partial disability benefits for nine (9) months
commencing on the day of her retirement, it does not automatically follow that petitioner recognized her disability as permanent
and total because the period of 120 days mentioned in Sec. 2, Rule 7 of the Amended Rules on Employees' Compensation is not
the determining factor. Petitioner contends that an injury or illness that goes beyond the said 120 days may still be considered as
permanent partial disability pursuant to Sec. 2, Rule 10 of the same rules.

The Court has already dismissed the same arguments before in similar cases. Petitioner's insistence must therefore suffer the
same fate in the instant case.

While it is true that the degree of private respondent's physical condition at the time of her retirement was not considered as
permanent total disability, yet, it cannot be denied that her condition subsequently worsened after her head operation and
consequent retirement. In fact, she suffered afterwards from some ailments like headaches, dizziness, weakness, inability to
properly sleep, inability to walk without support and failure to regain her memory. All these circumstances ineluctably
demonstrate the seriousness of her condition, contrary to the claim of petitioner. More than that, it was also undisputed that
private respondent was made to take her medication for life.

A person's disability may not manifest fully at one precise moment in time but rather over a period of time. It is
possible that an injury which at first was considered to be temporary may later on become permanent or one
who suffers a partial disability becomes totally and permanently disabled from the same cause. 12
In the same vein, this Court has ruled that "disability should not be understood more on its medical significance but on the loss of
earning capacity." 13 Private respondent's persistent illness indeed forced her to retire early which, in turn, resulted in her
unemployment, and loss of earning capacity.

Judicial precedents likewise show that disability is intimately related to one's earning capacity. It has been a consistent
pronouncement of this Court that "permanent total disability means disablement of an employee to earn wages in the same kind
of work, or work of a similar nature that she was trained for or accustomed to perform, or any kind of work which a person of her
mentality attainment could do." 14 "It does not mean state of absolute helplessness, but inability to do substantially all material
acts necessary to prosecution of an occupation for remuneration or profit in substantially customary and usual manner." 15

The Court has construed permanent total disability as the "lack of ability to follow continuously some substantially gainful
occupation without serious discomfort or pain and without material injury or danger to life." 16 It is, therefore, clear from
established jurisprudence that the loss of one's earning capacity determines the disability compensation one is entitled to.

It is also important to note that private respondent was constrained to retire the age of 62 years because of her impaired physical
condition. This, again, another indication that her disability is permanent and total. As held by this Court, "the fact of an
employee's disability is placed beyond question with the approval of the employee's optional retirement, for such is authorized
only when the employee is physically incapable to render sound and efficient service' . . . ." 7

In the case at bar, the denial of the claim for permanent total disability benefit of private respondent who, for 38 long years
during her prime had rendered her best service with an unblemished record and who was compelled to retire on account of her
worsening condition, would indeed subvert the salutary intentions the law in favor of the worker. The Court, therefore, affirms the
decision of respondent Court of Appeals decreeing conversion of private respondent's disability from permanent partial disability
to permanent total disability.

One final note. The GSIS and ECC should be commended for their vigilance against unjustified claims that will deplete the funds
intended to be disbursed for the benefit only of deserving disabled employees. Nevertheless, we should caution them against a
too strict interpretation of the rules lest it result in the withholding of full assistance from those whose capabilities have been
diminished, if not completely impaired, as a consequence of their dedicated service in the government. A humanitarian impulse,
dictated by no less than the Constitution itself under the social justice policy, calls for a liberal and sympathetic approach to the
legitimate appeals of disabled public servants like the herein private respondent. Compassion for them is not a doleout but a
right. 18

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DENIED, and the challenged decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 17, 1994
is AFFIRMED in toto.

Bunao vs. SSS


Artus E. Bunao (Artus), husband of petitioner, was employed by Ocean Tanker Corporation as an acting Second Marine
Engineer on board the vessels M/T Palawan, M/T Guimaras and M/T Buenavista from 20 July 1995 until 06 August 1999. Per Job
Description[3] from Ocean Tanker Corporation, Artus was tasked with the duties enumerated hereunder:

On 23 September 1999, Artus was rushed to the Mary Johnston Hospital, Tondo, Manila, because of body weakness. The
diagnostic procedures revealed an impression of Renal Cell Cancer with Liver Metastasis. He was later discharged from the
hospital on 25 September 1999.

On 15 October 1999, the occurrence of Artus’s sickness was reported to the Social Security System (SSS).

On 14 November 1999, Artus was again admitted at the same hospital due to loose bowel movement and body weakness.
He was discharged after two (2) days of confinement with the findings of Renal Cell Cancer with Liver Metastasis.

Artus died on 29 November 1999. According to the certificate of death, the cause of death was Hepatic Encephalopathy,
Renal Cell Cancer.

Petitioner filed a claim for death benefits under Presidential Decree No. 626, as amended, before the SSS. The SSS,
however, denied the claim on the ground that her husband’s ailment, which caused his death, is not included in the list of
occupational diseases, and that the same has no causal relationship with the nature of her husband’s work.

Petitioner appealed the SSS decision to the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC), and the appeal was docketed as
ECC CASE NO. MS-11664-800. In a decision[4] dated 12 January 2001, the ECC affirmed the SSS decision and dismissed the
appeal for lack of merit.

On 26 February 2002, petitioner received a copy of the ECC decision.

On 08 March 2002, petitioner, intending to file a petition for review before the Court of Appeals, sought the assistance of
the Special and Appealed Cases Division of the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

On 13 March 2002, the petitioner, through the assistance of Atty. Joefferson B. Toribion of the PAO, mailed to the Court of
Appeals via registered mail a Manifestation attaching thereto a Notice of Appearance with Motion for Extension of Time to File
Petition for Review. On the same date, petitioner likewise mailed to the Court of Appeals the required docket fees through postal
money order.

In a Resolution[5] dated 26 March 2002, the Court of Appeals noted the Motion for Extension of petitioner in this wise:
Considering that the Petitioner had not remitted to the Court the requisite docket and other legal fees, her “Motion for
Extension” is hereby NOTED.
Eventually, on 27 May 2003, the Court of Appeals dismissed outright petitioner’s petition for review for having been filed
out of time. The resolution[6] reads:

In view of the Resolution We issued on March 26, 2002 (Rollo, p. 016), the Petition for Review filed on April 1, 2002 was
already filed out of time since petitioner’s motion for extension, through the Public Attorney’s Office, was not granted but only
NOTED for failure to remit to this Court the requisite docket and other legal fees.

Petitioner sought for a reconsideration of the Court of Appeals Resolution, but the same was denied in a resolution
dated August 11, 2003.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari, raising these two issues:
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DISMISSING OUTRIGHT THE PETITION FOR REVIEW
CONTRARY TO ESTABLISHED RULES, LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE.

WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION BENEFITS UNDER PD 626.

Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred in dismissing her appeal outright since the notice of appearance with
motion for extension was timely filed, together with the payment of docket fees.

On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General argues that the dismissal of the petition for review before the Court of
Appeals was proper because the court a quo, in the exercise of its discretion, did not grant the motion for extension of time to file
petition for review but it merely noted the same. Since the motion for extension to file petition for review which was filed on the
last day of the reglementary period to appeal was not granted, the period to file a petition for review had already lapsed.

The SSS, in its memorandum, posits that the assailed resolution of the Court of Appeals dismissing the petition for review
was rendered in the exercise of the appellate court’s sound discretion.

Rule 43 of the Rules of Court governs the filing of a petition for review with the Court of Appeals from a decision of the ECC
and other quasi-judicial agencies. Section 4 thereof provides in part:

SEC. 4. Period of appeal. - The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from notice of the award, judgment, final order
or resolution, or from the date of its last publication, if publication is required by law for its effectivity, or of the denial of
petitioner’s motion for new trial or reconsideration duly filed in accordance with the governing law of the court or agency a
quo . . . Upon proper motion and the payment of the full amount of the docket fee before the expiration of the reglementary
period, the Court of Appeals may grant an additional period of fifteen (15) days only within which to file the petition for review.

A plain reading of the above provision shows that the Court of Appeals, upon filing by the petitioner of a motion for
extension and the payment of the appellate docket and other lawful fees within the reglementary period, may grant an additional
period of fifteen (15) days within which to file the petition for review. The rule is that motions for extension are not granted as a
matter of right but in the sound discretion of the court taking into account the facts attendant to the case.[7]

In the instant case, the appellate court dismissed outright the petition on the ground that the motion for extension was
merely noted for failure to remit the required docket fees and other legal fees.

Records reveal, however, that petitioner paid the docket fee in two (2) checks amounting to One Thousand and Fifty Pesos
(P1,050.00) through postal money order purchased at the Quezon City Central Post Office on 13 March 2002,[8] the last day for
filing of her petition for review. The court a quo, therefore, erred in denying the motion for extension on the ground stated since
petitioner paid the required docket fee on time.

The consequence of our ruling would be for the Court to set aside the resolution of the Court of Appeals and to direct it to
reinstate the petition. Such step would, however, unduly prolong the disposition of the instant action. It is an accepted precept of
procedural law that the Court may resolve the dispute in a single proceeding, instead of remanding the case to the lower court for
further proceedings if, based on the records, pleadings, and other evidence, the matter can readily be ruled upon.[9] In view
thereof, we shall act on the petition considering that the remaining issue raised is one of law.

Petitioner maintains that that the risk of contracting the fatal ailment that resulted in Artus’s death was increased by the
working environs to which the latter was exposed as 2nd Marine Engineer in Ocean Tanker Corporation from 20 July 1995 to 06
August 1999.

To bolster her argument, she asserts that Artus started his employment with Ocean Tanker Corporation in good health as
evidenced by a certification[10] dated 29 September 1993 issued by Holy Angel Medical Clinic, Inc., which recommended him to
be fit for work. She concluded that the renal cell cancer which caused Artus’s demise developed and was brought largely by the
conditions present in the nature of his job.

The SSS, on the other hand, mainly argues that Artus’s ailment is not included in the list of occupational diseases and that
petitioner failed to submit proof that would constitute a reasonable basis for concluding either that the condition of Artus’s
employment and nature of work caused the disease or that such working conditions aggravated the risk of contracting the same.

The OSG likewise espoused the argument that petitioner failed to establish that Artus’s death was work-related as there
was no medical findings from Artus’s physician indicating that the disease was work-related.

For the beneficiaries of an employee to be entitled to death benefits under the system, the cause of death of the employee
must be a sickness listed as an occupational disease by ECC; or any other illness caused by employment, subject to proof that the
risk of contracting the same is increased by the working conditions.[11]

There is no dispute that renal cell cancer is not listed as an occupational disease under Annex “A” of the Rules on
Employees’ Compensation. As such, petitioner has the burden of proving, by substantial evidence, the causal relationship
between her husband’s illness and his working conditions. Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[12]

For petitioner’s claim to prosper, she must submit such proof as would constitute a reasonable basis for concluding either
that the conditions of Artus’s employment caused the ailment or that such working conditions had aggravated the risk of
contracting that ailment.

Petitioner alleged that in the performance of her husband’s duties as 2nd Marine Engineer, part of which reads:

6. Ensures the upkeep and maintenance of the Engine Room by arranging, monitoring and controlling day to day engine
room maintenance activities in coordination with Chief Engineer.
7. Ensures the smooth operation of the vessel main and auxiliary machinery.
8. Transfers and/or fills up fuel oil and lube oil settling and dry tanks, if necessary . . . .

the latter was exposed to leaded petrol and petroleum products that contain various chemicals like hydrogen, benzene and lead
which are health hazards because of their carcinogenicity. She claims that most of these chemicals precipitate kidney disease,
kidney cancer and liver cancer.

Unfortunately, such bare allegations and vague excerpts on cancer do not constitute such evidence that a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion that there is indeed a causal relationship between the illness of the deceased
and his working conditions. Awards of compensation cannot rest on speculations and presumptions.[13] The claimant must
prove a positive proposition.[14] As ruled in Sante v. Employees’ Compensation Commission: [15]
. . . What kind and quantum of evidence would constitute an adequate basis for a reasonable man (not necessarily a
medical scientist) to reach one or the other conclusion, can obviously be determined only on a case-to-case basis. That evidence
must, however, be real and substantial, and not merely apparent; for the duty to prove work-causation or work-aggravation
imposed by existing law is real . . . not merely apparent…

There is no showing that the progression of the disease was brought about largely by the conditions in Artus’s job.
Petitioner did not present medical history, records or physician’s report in order to substantiate her claim that the working
conditions on board the vessels M/T Palawan, M/T Guimaras and M/T Buenavista increased the risk of contracting renal cell
cancer.
In Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, the etiology of renal cell cancer is described in the following manner:

. . . Many environmental factors have been investigated as possible contributing causes. The strongest association is with
cigarette smoking (accounting for 20 to 30% of cases) and obesity. . .
Most cases are sporadic, although familial forms have been reported. One is associated with Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL)
syndrome. Nearly 35% of patients with VHL disease develop renal cell cancer. An increased incidence has also been reported for
patients with tuberous sclerosis and polycystic kidney disease.[16]

Certainly, cancer is a disease that strikes people in general. The nature of a person’s employment appears to have no
relevance. Cancer can strike a lowly paid laborer or a highly paid executive or one who works on land, in water, or in the deep
bowels of the earth. It makes no difference whether the victim is employed or unemployed, a white collar employee or a blue
collar worker, a housekeeper, an urban dweller or a resident of a rural area.[17]

While there are certain cancers which are reasonably considered as strongly induced by specific causes like heavy doses of
radiation as in Chernobyl, USSR; cigarette smoke over a long period for lung cancer; certain chemicals for specific cancers, and
asbestos dust, are generally accepted as increasing the risks of contracting specific cancers, what the law requires for others is
proof.[18] This was not satisfied in the instant case.
While we sustain petitioner’s contention that the Court of Appeals erred in denying outright her petition for review, we are
nonetheless constrained to rule that under the Labor Code, her husband’s illness which eventually led to his demise is not
compensable. Even as this Court has ruled that the sympathy of the law on social security is toward its beneficiaries, it is likewise
important to note that such sympathy must be balanced by the equally vital interest of denying undeserving claims for
compensation.[19] Payment to claimants not intended by law to be compensated endangers the stability and liquidity of the
State Insurance Fund. Compassion for the victims of diseases not covered by law ignores the need to show a greater concern for
the trust fund to which the tens of millions of workers and their families look to for compensation whenever covered accidents,
diseases and deaths occur.[20] In this case, this Court has no other recourse but to apply the clear provisions of the law.

WHEREFORE, the resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP UDK No. 4525 dated 27 May 2003 denying outright
petitioner’s petition for review, and its resolution dated 11 August 2003, which denied the motion for reconsideration,
are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. However, resolving the case on the merits, and as sufficiently revealed by the records, the
decision of the Employees’ Compensation Commission in ECC CASE NO. MS-11664-800, dismissing petitioner’s claim for
compensation benefits under Presidential Decree No. 626, as amended, is AFFIRMED.

PROFETA vs. HON. DRILON


This is a petition for review on certiorari assailing a portion of the decision of the Office of the President, dated 23 October 1991,
declaring petitioner as compulsorily retired as of 15 October 1991 and the resolution dated 31 January 1992 denying petitioner's
motion for reconsideration of said decision.

Petitioner, Dr. Lydia M. Profeta, served as Executive Dean of the Rizal Technological Colleges from 24 October 1974 to 15 October
1978. From 16 October 1978 to 30 April 1979, petitioner was the appointed Acting President of said College until her promotion to
President of the same college on 1 May 1979.

After the 1986 EDSA revolution or on 5 March 1986, petitioner filed her courtesy resignation as President of the Rizal
Technological Colleges and the same was accepted on 21 March 1986. A day before the acceptance of her courtesy resignation,
petitioner applied for sick leave.

On 4 November 1988, petitioner was appointed Acting President of Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and
Technology (hereinafter referred to as EARIST) and was thereafter appointed its President on 29 March 1989.

After reaching the age of sixty-five (65) years on 16 June 1989, petitioner inquired from the Government Service Insurance
System (GSIS) as to whether she may be allowed to extend her services with the government as President of EARIST beyond the
age of sixty-five (65) years, to enable her to avail of the old-age pension retirement benefits under PD 1146 (Revised Government
Service Insurance Act of 1977). In answer to her query, petitioner was advised by the GSIS to return to the service until she shall
have fulfilled the fifteen (15) years service requirement pursuant of Section 11 of PD 1146, to qualify for the old-age pension
retirement plan. The GSIS declared that petitioner was not yet eligible to retire under PD 1146, as she had not rendered the
sufficient number of years of service on the date of her supposed retirement on 16 June 1989 and that her creditable service was
only twelve (12) years and two (2) months. As things stood, she could only claim one hundred percent (100%) of her average
monthly compensation for every year of creditable service or to a refund of her premium contributions with the GSIS. 1

On 6 October 1989, as recommended by the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Secretary and the Board of
Trustees of EARIST, President Aquino, through Deputy Executive Secretary Magdangal B. Elma, extended the term of petitioner as
President of EARIST until she shall have completed the required fifteen (15) years of service after reaching the age of sixty five
(65) years on the date of her normal retirement on 16 June 1989 or for an additional period of two (2) years, seven (7) months
and twelve (12) days. 2

In March 1990, the EARIST Faculty and Employees Union filed an administrative complaint against petitioner before the Office of
the President, for her alleged irregular appointment and for graft and corrupt practices. In a memorandum, dated 16 August 1990,
the Office of the President furnished petitioner a copy of the complaint with a directive to file an answer thereto with the DECS
Secretary, who was duly authorized to conduct a formal investigation of the charges against petitioner. Pending investigation of
the complaint, petitioner was placed under preventive suspension for a period of ninety (90) days. 3 After serving the period of
suspension, petitioner re-assumed her duties and functions as President of EARIST.

In a letter dated 20 July 1990, DECS Secretary Cariño recommended the compulsory retirement of petitioner. 4

For the purpose of investigating the administrative charges against petitioner, 5 an Ad-Hoc Committee was created by President
Aquino on 12 February 1991. The parties filed their respective pleadings and hearings in the case were conducted by the
committee.

Pending resolution of the administrative charges against her, petitioner was detailed with the DECS Central Office pursuant to a
memorandum dated 13 February 1991 signed by Deputy Executive Secretary Sarmiento III. Petitioner filed a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus before the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 40, seeking her reinstatement as EARIST President.
After trial, said petition was dismissed. On appeal, the Court of Appeals denied the petition for certiorari on 2 April 1991. 6
Petitioner likewise assailed her reassignment with the DECS Central Office, before the Civil Service Commission (CSC). On 30 July
1991, the CSC denied petitioner's complaint. She moved for reconsideration of said resolution but the same was denied on 3
December 1991, which prompted petitioner to file a petition for certiorari before this Court docketed as G.R. No. 103271. On 3
March 1992, this Court dismissed said petition.

After evaluating the evidence presented before the Ad-Hoc Committee, in a decision 7 dated 23 October 1991, the Office of the
President dismissed the administrative complaint against petitioner for lack of substantial evidence. In the same decision, the
Office of the President also declared petitioner as compulsory retired from government service as of 15 October 1991, holding
that:

... (I)f the aforesaid sick leave of 62 working days (approximately 3 months) were to be added to the respondent's creditable
service, together with the period of two (2) weeks which the respondent's counsel admits in his Memorandum the respondent had
served as Professorial Lecturer, the respondent should be considered as compulsorily retired as of Oct. 15, 1991, having
completed the required 15 years in the service on or about the said date after reaching the age of 65.

Accordingly, the administrative charges against Dr. Lydia M. Profeta for her alleged "irregular appointment and graft and corrupt
practices" are hereby dismissed. However, Dr. Profeta is hereby considered as now compulsorily retired from the service as of
October 15, 1991, in accordance with the provisions of Section 11 (b) of Presidential Decree No. 1146, having completed fifteen
(15) years in the government service on or about he said date after reaching the age of sixty-five (65) on June 16, 1989. 8

In a letter dated 23 October 1991, petitioner requested the GSIS to determine the exact date of her retirement. On 5 November
1991, petitioner was advised by the GSIS that the exact date of her retirement falls on 14 August 1992. 9

A motion for reconsideration was then filed by petitioner with the Office of the President, assailing the portion of its decision
declaring her as compulsorily retired from the service as of 15 October 1991, alleging that the said office has no jurisdiction over
the issue of her compulsory retirement from the government service.

In a resolution 10 dated 31 January 1992, petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied by the Office of the President. In the
same resolution, the Office of the President clarified that there was an over extension of petitioner's period of service with the
government by failure to reckon with the sixty-two (62) working days during which petitioner went on sick leave (from 20 March
to 17 June 1986) and the period of two (2) weeks during which petitioner served as Professorial Lecturer. In considering petitioner
as compulsory retired as of 15 October 1991, the Office of the President held that it merely resolved motu proprio to shorten by
three-and-a-half (3-1/2) months the extension granted to petitioner to complete the required fifteen (15) years of service for
purposes of retirement. It further declared that it is for the President to determine whether or not petitioner could still continue as
EARIST President despite her exoneration from the administrative charges filed against her.

Under Presidential Decree No. 1146 (Revised Government Insurance Act of 1977), one of the benefits provided for qualified
members of the GSIS is the old-age pension benefit. A member who has rendered at least fifteen (15) years of service and is at
least sixty (60) years old when separated from the service, is entitled to a basic monthly pension for life but for not less than five
(5) years. On the other hand, a member who has rendered less than fifteen (15) years of service but with at least three (3) years
of service and is sixty (60) years of age when separated from the service is entitled to a cash payment equivalent to one hundred
percent (100%) of the average monthly compensation for every year of service.

However, retirement is compulsory for a member who has reached the age of sixty-five (65) years with at least fifteen (15) years
of service. If he has less than fifteen (15) years of service, he shall be allowed to continue in the service to complete the fifteen
(15) years, 11 to avail of the old-age pension benefit.

To a public servant, a pension is not a gratuity but rather a form of deferred compensation for services performed and his right to
it commences to vest upon his entry into the retirement system and becomes an enforceable obligation in court upon fulfillment
of all conditions under which it is to be paid. Similarly, retirement benefits receivable by public employees are valuable parts of
the consideration for entrance into and continuation in public office or employment. They serve a public purpose and a primary
objective in establishing them is to induce competent persons to enter and remain in public employment and render faithful and
efficient service while so employed. 12 Retirement laws are liberally interpreted in favor of the retiree because their intention is to
provide for his sustenance and hopefully even comfort, when he no longer has the stamina to continue earning his livelihood. 13
The liberal approach aims to achieve the humanitarian purposes of the law in order that the efficiency, security and well-being of
government employees maybe enhanced. 14

In the case at bar, at the time petitioner reached the compulsory retirement age of sixty-five (65) years, she had rendered less
than the required fifteen (15) years of service under Section 11 of P.D. 1146. Thus, to enable her to avail of the old-age pension
benefit, she was allowed to continue in the service and her term as President of EARIST was extended until she shall have
completed the fifteen (15) years service requirement, or for an additional two (2) years, seven (7) months, and twelve (12) days,
as determined by the Office of the President.

This period of extended service granted to petitioner was amended by the Office of the President. In resolving the administrative
complaint against petitioner, the Office of the President, ruled not only on the issues of alleged irregular appointment of petitioner
and of graft and corrupt practices, but went further by, in effect, reducing the period of extension of service granted to petitioner
on the ground that the latter had already completed the fifteen (15) years service requirement under P.D. 1146, and declared
petitioner as compulsorily retired as of 15 October 1991.

In other words, the extension of service of petitioner was until January 1992. However, the Office of the President made a new
computation of petitioner's period of service with the government, the Office of the President included as part of her service the
sixty-two (62) days sick leave applied for by petitioner covering the period between 20 March to 17 June 1988 and her service as
a lecturer of approximately two (2) weeks, or a total of three-and-a-half (3 1/2) months. As a result of this new computation,
petitioner's extension of service which was supposed to end in January 1992 was reduced by the Office of the President by three-
and-a-half (3 1/2) months or until 15 October 1991.

On the other hand, the computation made by the GSIS as to the exact date of retirement of petitioner fell on 14 August 1992. 15
Thus, the extension of service granted to petitioner by the Office of the President for two (2) years, seven (7) months and twelve
(12) days which brought her services only up to January 1992, would not enable herein petitioner to complete the fifteen (15)
years service requirement for purposes of retirement. To allow the Office of the President to shorten the extension of service of
petitioner by three-and-a-half (3 1/2) months which consist of petitioner's sick leave and service as lecturer, would further reduce
petitioner's service with the government. Such reduction from petitioner's service would deprive her of the opportunity of availing
of the old-age pension plan, based on the computation of the GSIS.

We hold that it is the GSIS which has the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether a member is qualified or not to
avail of the old-age pension benefit under P.D. 1146, based on its computation of a member's years of service with the
government. 16 The computation of a member's service includes not only full time but also part time and other services with
compensation as may be included under the rules and regulations prescribed by the System. 17

The sixty-two (62) days leave of absence of petitioner between 20 March to 17 June 1986 and her part-time service as a lecturer f
approximately two (2) weeks, or a total of three-and-a-half (3 1/2) months is not reflected in her service record. Said period should
be considered as part of her service with the government and it is only but proper that her service record be amended to reflect
said period of service.

We have observed that the computation made by the GSIS of petitioner's date of retirement failed to take into account the three-
and-a-half (3 1/2) months service of petitioner which was not reflected in her service record. If we deduct this unrecorded three-
and-a-half (3 1/2) months service of petitioner from 14 August 1992, petitioner is to be considered retired on 30 April 1992.

The order of the Office of the President declaring petitioner as compulsorily retired as of 15 October 1991 defeats the purpose for
allowing petitioner to remain in the service until she has completed the fifteen (15) years service requirement. Between the
period of 16 October 1991 to 30 April 1992, petitioner should have been allowed to continue in the service to be able to complete
the fifteen (15) years service requirement; she was prepared to render services for said period but was not allowed to do so; she
should, therefore, the entitled to all her salaries, benefits and other emoluments during said period (16 October 1991 - 30 April
1992). However, petitioner's claim for reinstatement to her former position to enable her to complete the fifteen (15) year service
requirement for retirement purposes is no longer possible, considering that she is deemed to have completed the said service
requirement as of 30 April 1992.

WHEREFORE, the portion of the decision of the Office of the President dated 23 October 1991 declaring petitioner as compulsorily
retired as of 15 October 1991 is SET ASIDE. Petitioner is hereby declared to have been in the service as President of EARIST from
16 October 1991 until 30 April 1992 and therefore entitled to all salaries, benefits and other emoluments of said office from 16
October 1991 to 30 April 1992. In addition, she is declared as entitled to her old-age pension benefits for having reached age 65
years while in the service with 15 years of service to her credit, subject to her compliance with all applicable regulations and
requirements of the GSIS.

LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, vs. FELICIANO F. WYCOCO

Before the Court are consolidated petitions, the first seeking the review of the February 9, 1999 Decision 1 and the September 22,
1999 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. SP No. 39913, which modified the Decision 3 of Regional Trial Court of
Cabanatuan City, Branch 23, acting as a Special Agrarian Court in Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF); and the second for mandamus to
compel the said trial court to issue a writ of execution and to direct Judge Rodrigo S. Caspillo to inhibit himself from Agrarian Case
No. 91 (AF).

The undisputed antecedents show that Feliciano F. Wycoco is the registered owner of a 94.1690 hectare unirrigated and
untenanted rice land, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. NT-206422 and situated in the Sitios of Ablang, Saguingan and
Pinamunghilan, Barrio of San Juan, Licab, Nueva Ecija.4

In line with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of the government, Wycoco voluntarily offered to sell the land to
the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for P14.9 million.5 In November 1991, after the DAR’s evaluation of the application and
the determination of the just compensation by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), a notice of intention to acquire 84.5690
hectares of the property for P1,342,667.466 was sent to Wycoco. The amount offered was later raised to P2,594,045.39 and, upon
review, was modified to P2,280,159.82.7The area which the DAR offered to acquire excluded idle lands, river and road located
therein. Wycoco rejected the offer, prompting the DAR to indorse the case to the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication
Board (DARAB) for the purpose of fixing the just compensation in a summary administrative proceeding.8 The case was docketed
as DARAB VOS Case No. 232 NE 93. Thereafter, the DARAB requested LBP to open a trust account in the name of Wycoco and
deposited the compensation offered by DAR.9 In the meantime, the property was distributed to farmer-beneficiaries.

On March 29, 1993, DARAB required the parties to submit their respective memoranda or position papers in support of their
claim.10 Wycoco, however, decided to forego with the filing of the required pleadings, and instead filed on April 13, 1993, the
instant case for determination of just compensation with the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 23, docketed as
Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF).11 Impleaded as party-defendants therein were DAR and LBP.

On April 30, 1993, Wycoco filed a manifestation in VOS Case No. 232 NE 93, informing the DARAB of the pendency of
Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF) with the Cabanatuan court, acting as a special agrarian court.12 On March 9, 1994, the DARAB
issued an order dismissing the case to give way to the determination of just compensation by the Cabanatuan court.

Meanwhile, DAR and LBP filed their respective answers before the special agrarian court in Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF), contending
that the valuation of Wycoco’s property was in accordance with law and that the latter failed to exhaust administrative remedies
by not participating in the summary administrative proceedings before the DARAB which has primary jurisdiction over
determination of land valuation.14

After conducting a pre-trial on October 3, 1994, the trial court issued a pre-trial order.

The evidence presented by Wycoco in support of his claim were the following: (1) Transfer Certificate of Title No. NT-206422; (2)
Notice of Land Valuation dated June 18, 1992; and (3) letter dated July 10, 1992 rejecting the counter-offer of LBP and DAR.16 On
the other hand, DAR and LBP presented the Land Valuation Worksheets.17

On November 14, 1995, the trial court rendered a decision in favor of Wycoco. It ruled that there is no need to present
evidence in support of the land valuation inasmuch as it is of public knowledge that the prevailing market value of
agricultural lands sold in Licab, Nueva Ecija is from P135,000.00 to 150,000.00 per hectare. The court thus took judicial
notice thereof and fixed the compensation for the entire 94.1690 hectare land at P142,500.00 per hectare or a total of
P13,428,082.00. It also awarded Wycoco actual damages for unrealized profits plus legal interest.

The DAR and the LBP filed separate petitions before the Court of Appeals. The petition brought by DAR on jurisdictional and
procedural issues, docketed as CA-G.R. No. SP No. 39234, was dismissed on May 29, 1997.19 The dismissal became final and
executory on June 26, 1997.20 This prompted Wycoco to file a petition for mandamus before this Court, docketed as G.R. No.
146733, praying that the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 23, in Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF) be
executed, and that Judge Rodrigo S. Caspillo, the now presiding Judge of said court, be compelled to inhibit himself from hearing
the case.

The petition brought by LBP on both substantive and procedural grounds, docketed as CA-G.R. No. SP No. 39913, was
likewise dismissed by the Court of Appeals on February 9, 1999.21On September 22, 1999, however, the Court of Appeals
modified its decision by deducting from the compensation due Wycoco the amount corresponding to the 3.3672 hectare
portion of the 94.1690 hectare land which was found to have been previously sold by Wycoco to the Republic.
In its petition, LBP contended that the Court of Appeals erred in ruling:

The issues for resolution are as follows: (1) Did the Regional Trial Court, acting as Special Agrarian Court, validly acquire
jurisdiction over the instant case for determination of just compensation? (2) Assuming that it acquired jurisdiction, was the
compensation arrived at supported by evidence? (3) Can Wycoco compel the DAR to purchase the entire land subject of the
voluntary offer to sell? (4) Were the awards of interest and damages for unrealized profits valid?

Anent the issue of jurisdiction, the laws in point are Sections 50 and 57 of Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Law of 1988) which, in pertinent part, provide:

Section 50. Quasi-judicial Powers of the DAR. – The DAR is hereby vested with primary jurisdiction to determine and
adjudicate agrarian reform matters and shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the
implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture
(DA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)….

Section 57. Special Jurisdiction. – The Special Agrarian Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all
petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners, and the prosecution of all criminal offenses under
this Act.

The Special Agrarian Courts shall decide all appropriate cases under their special jurisdiction within thirty (30) days from
submission of the case for decision.

In Republic v. Court of Appeals,24 it was held that Special Agrarian Courts are given original and exclusive jurisdiction over two
categories of cases, to wit: (1) all petitions for the determination of just compensation; and (2) the prosecution of all criminal
offenses under R.A. No. 6657. Section 50 must be construed in harmony with Section 57 by considering cases involving the
determination of just compensation and criminal cases for violations of R.A. No. 6657 as excepted from the plenitude of power
conferred to the DAR. Indeed, there is a reason for this distinction. The DAR, as an administrative agency, cannot be granted
jurisdiction over cases of eminent domain and over criminal cases. The valuation of property in eminent domain is essentially a
judicial function which is vested with the Special Agrarian Courts and cannot be lodged with administrative agencies.25 In fact,
Rule XIII, Section 11 of the New Rules of Procedure of the DARAB acknowledges this power of the court, thus –

Section 11. Land Valuation and Preliminary Determination and Payment of Just Compensation. The decision of the
Adjudicator on land valuation and preliminary determination and payment of just compensation shall not be appealable
to the Board but shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Courts designated as Special Agrarian Courts within fifteen
(15) days from receipt of the notice thereof. Any party shall be entitled to only one motion for reconsideration. (Emphasis
supplied)

Under Section 1 of Executive Order No. 405, Series of 1990, the Land Bank of the Philippines is charged with the initial
responsibility of determining the value of lands placed under land reform and the just compensation to be paid for their
taking.26 Through a notice of voluntary offer to sell (VOS) submitted by the landowner, accompanied by the required documents,
the DAR evaluates the application and determines the land’s suitability for agriculture. The LBP likewise reviews the application
and the supporting documents and determines the valuation of the land. Thereafter, the DAR issues the Notice of Land Valuation
to the landowner. In both voluntary and compulsory acquisition, where the landowner rejects the offer, the DAR opens an account
in the name of the landowner and conducts a summary administrative proceeding. If the landowner disagrees with the valuation,
the matter may be brought to the Regional Trial Court acting as a special agrarian court. This in essence is the procedure for the
determination of just compensation.27

In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals,28 the landowner filed an action for determination of just compensation without
waiting for the completion of DARAB’s re-evaluation of the land. This, notwithstanding, the Court held that the trial court properly
acquired jurisdiction because of its exclusive and original jurisdiction over determination of just compensation, thus –

…It is clear from Sec. 57 that the RTC, sitting as a Special Agrarian Court, has "original and exclusive jurisdiction over all
petitions for the determination of just compensation to landowners." This "original and exclusive" jurisdiction of the RTC
would be undermined if the DAR would vest in administrative officials original jurisdiction in compensation cases and
make the RTC an appellate court for the review of administrative decisions. Thus, although the new rules speak of
directly appealing the decision of adjudicators to the RTCs sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, it is clear from Sec. 57 that
the original and exclusive jurisdiction to determine such cases is in the RTCs. Any effort to transfer such jurisdiction to
the adjudicators and to convert the original jurisdiction of the RTCs into an appellate jurisdiction would be contrary to
Sec. 57 and therefore would be void. Thus, direct resort to the SAC [Special Agrarian Court] by private respondent
is valid. (Emphasis supplied)29

In the case at bar, therefore, the trial court properly acquired jurisdiction over Wycoco’s complaint for determination of just
compensation. It must be stressed that although no summary administrative proceeding was held before the DARAB, LBP was
able to perform its legal mandate of initially determining the value of Wycoco’s land pursuant to Executive Order No. 405, Series
of 1990. What is more, DAR and LBP’s conformity to the pre-trial order which limited the issue only to the determination of just
compensation estopped them from questioning the jurisdiction of the special agrarian court. The pre-trial order limited the issues
to those not disposed of by admission or agreements; and the entry thereof controlled the subsequent course of action.30

Besides, the issue of whether Wycoco violated the rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies was rendered moot and
academic in view of the DARAB’s dismissal31 of the administrative case to give way to and in recognition of the court’s power to
determine just compensation.32

In arriving at the valuation of Wycoco’s land, the trial court took judicial notice of the alleged prevailing market value of
agricultural lands in Licab, Nueva Ecija without apprising the parties of its intention to take judicial notice thereof. Section 3, Rule
129 of the Rules on Evidence provides:

Sec. 3. Judicial Notice, When Hearing Necessary. – During the trial, the court, on its own initiative, or on request of a
party, may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon.

After trial and before judgment or on appeal, the proper court, on its own initiative, or on request of a party, may take
judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is decisive of a material issue in the
case.
Inasmuch as the valuation of the property of Wycoco is the very issue in the case at bar, the trial court should have allowed the
parties to present evidence thereon instead of practically assuming a valuation without basis. While market value may be one of
the bases of determining just compensation, the same cannot be arbitrarily arrived at without considering the factors to be
appreciated in arriving at the fair market value of the property e.g., the cost of acquisition, the current value of like properties, its
size, shape, location, as well as the tax declarations thereon.33 Since these factors were not considered, a remand of the case for
determination of just compensation is necessary. The power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by courts with caution
especially where the case involves a vast tract of land. Care must be taken that the requisite notoriety exists; and every
reasonable doubt on the subject should be promptly resolved in the negative. To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact
is merely another way of saying that the usual form of evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can be otherwise
acquired. This is because the court assumes that the matter is so notorious that it will not be disputed. But judicial notice is not
judicial knowledge. The mere personal knowledge of the judge is not the judicial knowledge of the court, and he is not authorized
to make his individual knowledge of a fact, not generally or professionally known, the basis of his action.34

Anent the third issue, the DAR cannot be compelled to purchase the entire property voluntarily offered by Wycoco. The power to
determine whether a parcel of land may come within the coverage of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is essentially
lodged with the DAR. That Wycoco will suffer damages by the DAR’s non-acquisition of the approximately 10 hectare portion of
the entire land which was found to be not suitable for agriculture is no justification to compel DAR to acquire the whole area.

We find Wycoco’s claim for payment of interest partly meritorious. In Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals,35 this Court
struck down as void DAR Administrative Circular No. 9, Series of 1990, which provides for the opening of trust accounts in lieu of
the deposit in cash or in bonds contemplated in Section 16 (e) of RA 6657.

"It is very explicit …from [Section 16 (e)] that the deposit must be made only in ‘cash’ or in ‘LBP bonds.’ Nowhere does it
appear nor can it be inferred that the deposit can be made in any other form. If it were the intention to include a ‘trust
account’ among the valid modes of deposit, that should have been made express, or at least, qualifying words ought to
have appeared from which it can be fairly deduced that a ‘trust account’ is allowed. In sum, there is no ambiguity in
Section 16(e) of RA 6657 to warrant an expanded construction of the term ‘deposit.’

xxx xxx xxx

"In the present suit, the DAR clearly overstepped the limits of its powers to enact rules and regulations when it issued
Administrative Circular No. 9. There is no basis in allowing the opening of a trust account in behalf of the landowner as
compensation for his property because, as heretofore discussed, Section 16(e) of RA 6657 is very specific that the
deposit must be made only in ‘cash’ or in ‘LBP bonds.’ In the same vein, petitioners cannot invoke LRA Circular Nos. 29,
29-A and 54 because these implementing regulations can not outweigh the clear provision of the law. Respondent court
therefore did not commit any error in striking down Administrative Circular No. 9 for being null and void."36

Pursuant to the forgoing decision, DAR issued Administrative Order No. 2, Series of 1996, converting trust accounts in the name of
landowners into deposit accounts.

In light of the foregoing, the trust account opened by LBP in the name of Wycoco as the mode of payment of just compensation
should be converted to a deposit account. Such conversion should be retroactive in application in order to rectify the error
committed by the DAR in opening a trust account and to grant the landowners the benefits concomitant to payment in cash or
LBP bonds prior to the ruling of the Court in Land Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals. Otherwise, petitioner’s right to
payment of just and valid compensation for the expropriation of his property would be violated.37 The interest earnings accruing
on the deposit account of landowners would suffice to compensate them pending payment of just compensation.

In some expropriation cases, the Court imposed an interest of 12% per annum on the just compensation due the landowner. It
must be stressed, however, that in these cases, the imposition of interest was in the nature of damages for delay in payment
which in effect makes the obligation on the part of the government one of forbearance. 38 It follows that the interest in the form of
damages cannot be applied where there was prompt and valid payment of just compensation. Conversely, where there was delay
in tendering a valid payment of just compensation, imposition of interest is in order. This is because the replacement of the trust
account with cash or LBP bonds did not ipso facto cure the lack of compensation; for essentially, the determination of this
compensation was marred by lack of due process.39

Accordingly, the just compensation due Wycoco should bear 12% interest per annum from the time LBP opened a trust account in
his name up to the time said account was actually converted into cash and LBP bonds deposit accounts. The basis of the 12%
interest would be the just compensation that would be determined by the Special Agrarian Court upon remand of the instant case.
In the same vein, the amount determined by the Special Agrarian Court would also be the basis of the interest income on the cash
and bond deposits due Wycoco from the time of the taking of the property up to the time of actual payment of just compensation.

The award of actual damages for unrealized profits should be deleted. The amount of loss must not only be capable of proof, but
must be proven with a reasonable degree of certainty. The claim must be premised upon competent proof or upon the best
evidence obtainable, such as receipts or other documentary proof.40 None having been presented in the instant case, the claim for
unrealized profits cannot be granted.

From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that Wycoco’s petition for mandamus in G.R. No. 146733 should be dismissed. The
decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 23, acting as Special Agrarian Court in Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF),
cannot be enforced because there is a need to remand the case to the trial court for determination of just compensation.
Likewise, the prayer for the inhibition of Judge Rodrigo S. Caspillo in Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF) is denied for lack of basis.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition in G.R. No. 140160 is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Agrarian Case No. 91 (AF) is
REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 23, for the determination of just compensation. The petition for
mandamus in G.R. No. 146733 is dismissed.

LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. ARLENE DE LEON and BERNARDO DE LEON
Before us is a petition for review of the resolution,[1] dated February 15, 2000, of the Court of Appeals[2] dismissing the ordinary
appeal of petitioner Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP, for brevity), and resolution[3] dated May 22, 2000 denying the motion for
reconsideration thereof.

The petitioners-appellees Arlene de Leon and Bernardo de Leon are the registered owners of a parcel of land situated at San
Agustin, Concepcion, Tarlac covered by TCT No. 163051 with a total area of 50.1171 hectares. The subject property was
voluntarily offered for sale to the government pursuant to RA 6657 at P50,000.00 per hectare. The Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR) made a counter offer of P17,656.20 per hectare, or a total amount of P884,877.54, but the same was rejected.
Another offer was made by DAR increasing the amount to P1,565,369.35. In view of the petitioners-appellees’ failure to respond
to the new offer made by DAR, the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) took cognizance of the case
pursuant to Sec. 16 (d) of RA 6657. Subsequently, the DARAB issued an Order directing respondent-appellant LBP to recompute
the value of the subject property in accordance with DAR Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 1992. Applying the pertinent
provisions of the said DAR administrative order, respondent-appellant arrived at a recomputed land value as follows:

Land Use Area Acquired Value/hectare Total/Land Value

Sugarland 32.4187 P61,758.85 P2,002,141.63


Riceland 16.6984 P28,449.80 P 475,066.14
Idle land 1.0000 P14,523.78 P 14,523.78

or an aggregate amount of P2,491,731.65, which was again rejected by the petitioners-appellees.

In a Petition dated October 27, 1994, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 63, Tarlac, which is the designated Special
Agrarian Court in the area, petitioners-appellees asked the court, among others, to fix the just compensation of the subject
property.

In due time the court rendered a summary judgment on December 19, 1997 fixing the compensation of the subject property as
follows:

a. P1,260,000.00 for the 16.69 hectares of riceland;

b. P2,957,250.00 for the 30.4160 hectares of sugarland.

Within the time allowed, respondent-appellant filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was subsequently denied by the Court.

xxx xxx xxx

On March 17, 1998, the Department of Agrarian Reform filed in the Court of Appeals a petition for review of the decision of the
Special Agrarian Court. The said petition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 47005, was assigned to the Special Third (3rd) Division of
the Court of Appeals. Petitioner LBP also initiated in the Court of Appeals an appeal of the same decision of the Special Agrarian
Court by filing a notice of appeal. Docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 60365, the said ordinary appeal was assigned to the Fourth (4th)
Division of the Court of Appeals.
On November 6, 1998, the Special Third (3rd) Division of the appellate court, through then Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-
Reyes[5], rendered in CA-G.R. SP No. 47005 a decision[6], the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review is GIVEN DUE COURSE. The decision dated February 9, 1998 is partially
reconsidered. The trial court is ordered to recompute the compensation based on the selling price of palay at 213.00 per cavan.
Petitioner is ordered to pay legal interest at 6% of the compensation so fixed from 1990 until full payment is made by the
government.

Thereafter, on February 15, 2000, the Fourth (4th) Division of the Court of Appeals dismissed petitioner LBP’s ordinary appeal (CA-
G.R. CV No. 60365), in a resolution dated February 15, 2000, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit.[8]

In dismissing the ordinary appeal (CA-G.R. CV No. 60365) instituted by petitioner LBP, the appellate court reasoned that the mode
of appeal followed by the petitioner was erroneous considering that Section 60 of RA 6657, otherwise known as the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, mandates that appeals from decisions of Special Agrarian Courts should be by petition for
review. Therefore, the notice of appeal filed by LBP was ineffectual and did not stop the running of the period of appeal. Also, the
appellate court took note of the decision rendered by the Special Third (3rd) Division of the same court involving the same issue
and parties, to wit:

All these notwithstanding LBP does not stand to lose anything at all. While it did suffer a setback in this instant case LBP in one
way or the other still we note that it is likewise victorious in the appeal brought by the DAR (CA-G.R. SP 47005). In a decision
rendered on November 6, 1998 this court ordered the trial court to recompute the compensation based on the selling price of
palay at P213.00 per cavan. Thus to this effect with more reason that we should deny the appeal – even granting the mode of
appeal as availed of is correct – to avoid any contradiction of this division’s with that of the other.[9]

Petitioner LBP filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied in a resolution dated May 22, 2000.

Hence, this petition questioning the resolutions of the Fourth (4th) Division of the Court of Appeals on the following assignment of
errors:

IN RULING THAT SECTION 60 OF RA 6657 PROVIDES THE PROPER MODE FOR THE REVIEW OF THE DECISIONS OF THE SPECIAL
AGRARIAN COURTS DESPITE SECTION 61 OF RA 6657 WHICH EXPRESSLY MANDATES THAT THE RULES OF COURT SHALL GOVERN
THE REVIEW OF THE DECISIONS OF THE SPECIAL AGRARIAN COURTS BY THE COURT OF APPEALS;

IN NOT RECOGNIZING THAT SECTION 61 OF RA 6657 PREVAILS OVER SECTION 60 OF RA 6657, INASMUCH AS THE MODE OF
APPEAL OF A COURT’S DECISION IS A MATTER OF PROCEDURE WHICH IS COVERED BY THE EXCLUSIVE RULE-MAKING POWER OF
THE SUPREME COURT UNDER SECTION 5(5), ARTICLE VIII OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING
JURISPRUDENCE;

IN DECLARING THAT THE SUPREME COURT MERELY MADE AN INADVERTENT “MISTAKE” IN REVISING SECTION 1, RULE 43 OF THE
RULES OF COURT AND REMOVING THE DECISIONS OF THE SPECIAL AGRARIAN COURT FROM THE LIST OF THOSE APPEALABLE TO
THE COURT OF APPEALS BY PETITION FOR REVIEW; AND

IN DISMISSING THE APPEAL OF THE PETITIONER, DESPITE ITS RULING THAT THE SUPREME COURT MADE A MISTAKE IN ITS
ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS, RENDERING SUCH DISMISSAL AS HIGHLY UNJUST, OPPRESSIVE AND CONTRARY TO DUE PROCESS OF
LAW. [10]

The case at bar requires an interpretation of Sections 60 and 61 of RA 6657. The said provisions provide that:
Section 60. Appeals, - An appeal may be taken from the decision of the Special Agrarian Courts by filing a petition for review with
the Court of Appeals within fifteen (15) days from receipt of notice of the decision; otherwise, the decision shall become final.

Section 61.- Procedure in Review. – Review by the Court of appeals or the Supreme Court, as the case may be, shall be governed
by the Rules of Court. The Court of Appeals, however, may require the parties to file simultaneous memoranda within a period of
fifteen (15) days from notice, after which the case is deemed submitted for decision.

Respondent spouses point to Section 60 of RA 6657 to support their view that the mode of appeal initiated by petitioner LBP was
erroneous. On the other hand, petitioner LBP believes that the mode of appeal it used is permissible under Section 61 of the same
law.

What indeed is the proper mode of appeal from decisions of the Regional Trial Courts, sitting as Special Agrarian Courts, in the
determination of just compensation — an appeal by way of a petition for review or an ordinary appeal?

Section 2 of Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure provides for three modes of appeal, to wit:

Sec. 2. Modes of Appeal. –

(a) Ordinary appeal. – The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original
jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and
serving a copy thereof upon the adverse party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings and other
cases or multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. In such cases, the record on appeal shall be filed
and served in like manner.

(b) Petition for Review. – The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its
appellate jurisdiction shall be by petition for review in accordance with Rule 42.

(c) Appeal by Certiorari. – In all cases where only questions of law are raised or involved, the appeal shall be to the Supreme Court
by petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45.

Petitioner LBP, in its bid to maintain the legitimacy of its appeal, contends that the proper mode of appeal from a decision of the
Special Agrarian Court is by way of a notice of appeal due to the reference by Section 61 of RA 6657 to the Rules of Court as the
governing procedure for appeals to the Court of Appeals. This being the case, the petitioner claims that the procedure for ordinary
appealed cases provided for in Section 2(a) of Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure must be followed, that is, a
notice of appeal is required in order to perfect the appeal. According to the petitioner, this is the proper mode of appeal in the
case at bar considering that the appealed decision is that of the Regional Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction.
Moreover, Section 1 of Rule 43 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure[11] (pertaining to appeals by way of petitions for
review to the Court of Appeals of decisions of quasi-judicial agencies and the Court of Tax Appeals), does not include decisions of
the Regional Trial Courts acting as Special Agrarian Courts.

We deny the petition.

A petition for review, not an ordinary appeal, is the proper procedure in effecting an appeal from decisions of the Regional Trial
Courts acting as Special Agrarian Courts in cases involving the determination of just compensation to the landowners concerned.
Section 60 of RA 6657 clearly and categorically states that the said mode of appeal should be adopted. There is no room for a
contrary interpretation. Where the law is clear and categorical, there is no room for construction, but only application.[12]

According to the petitioner, Section 61 of RA 6657 should be followed, not Section 60. The reference by Section 61 to the Rules of
Court implies that an ordinary appeal requiring a notice of appeal is the proper manner of appealing decisions of Special Agrarian
Courts on just compensation because Section 2(a) of Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure provides that decisions
of the Regional Trial Courts in the exercise of their original jurisdiction follow the procedure governing ordinary appeals.

We do not agree.

First, there is no conflict between Section 60 and 61 of RA 6657 inasmuch as the Rules of Court do not at all prescribe the
procedure for ordinary appeals as the proper mode of appeal for decisions of Special Agrarian Courts. Section 61 in fact makes no
more than a general reference to the Rules of Court and does not even mention the procedure for ordinary appeals in Section 2,
Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure as the appropriate method of elevating to the Court of Appeals decisions of
Special Agrarian Courts in eminent domain cases.

Second, the failure to mention Special Agrarian Courts in Section 1 of Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure cannot be
construed to mean that a petition for review is not permissible for decisions of the said special courts. In fact, the said Rule is not
relevant to determine whether a petition for review is the proper mode of appeal from decisions of Regional Trial Courts in
agrarian cases, that is, when they act as Special Agrarian Courts. Section 1 of Rule 43 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure merely mentions the Court of Tax Appeals and the other different quasi-judicial agencies without exclusivity in its
phraseology. Such omission cannot be construed to justify the contention that a petition for review is prohibited for decisions on
special agrarian cases inasmuch as the category is for quasi-judicial agencies and tax courts to which the Regional Trial Courts do
not properly belong. Although Supreme Court Circular No. 1-91[13] (precursor to Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure)
included the decisions of Special Agrarian Courts in the enumeration requiring petition for review, its non-inclusion later on in Rule
43 merely signifies that it was inappropriately classified as a quasi-judicial agency.

What is indisputable is that Section 60 expressly regards a petition for review as the proper way of appealing decisions of agrarian
courts. So far, there is no rule prescribed by this Court expressly disallowing the said procedure.

Third, far from being in conflict, Section 61 of RA 6657 can easily be harmonized with Section 60. The reference to the Rules of
Court means that the specific rules for petitions for review in the Rules of Court and other relevant procedures in appeals filed
before the Court of Appeals shall be followed in appealed decisions of Special Agrarian Courts. Considering that RA 6657 cannot
and does not provide the details on how the petition for review shall be conducted, a suppletory application of the pertinent
provisions of the Rules of Court is necessary. In fact, Section 61 uses the word “review” to designate the mode by which the
appeal is to be effected. The reference therefore by Section 61 to the Rules of Court only means that the procedure under Rule 42
for petitions for review is to be followed for appeals in agrarian cases.

According to the petitioner, an ordinary appeal prescribed under the Rules of Court should prevail over a petition for review
provided under Section 60 of RA 6657 inasmuch as a contrary interpretation would violate the constitutional provision granting to
the Supreme Court the power to “promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleadings,
practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law, the Integrated Bar, and Legal Assistance to the
underprivileged.” (italics supplied)[14]
As earlier mentioned, there is nothing in the Rules of Court that categorically prohibits the adoption of the procedure for petitions
for review of decisions of Special Agrarian Courts. Section 60 of RA 6657 and the provisions of the Rules of Court can be
harmonized and can co-exist.

Moreover, the same Section 5 (5), Article VIII, of the 1987 Philippine Constitution quoted by the petitioner states that “(r)ules of
procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme Court.” Section 60
is obviously a special procedure. Contrary to the petitioner’s contention, it cannot be otherwise merely because it was formulated
by the legislature and not by any special body. As long as the said section provides for a particular process for the governance of
the special court concerned, the provision is accurately classified as a special procedure. Subject to constitutional limitations, the
statutory enactment of a special procedure cannot be said to encroach on the power of this Court to formulate rules of procedure
for the reason that we have not yet provided for a particular process specifically governing agrarian courts. In fact, this
Court exercises its constitutional power to promulgate special rules of procedure by adopting Sections 60 and 61 of RA 6657
declaring a petition for review as the proper mode of appeal to the Court of Appeals.

The reason why it is permissible to adopt a petition for review when appealing cases decided by the Special Agrarian Courts in
eminent domain cases is the need for absolute dispatch in the determination of just compensation. Just compensation means not
only paying the correct amount but also paying for the land within a reasonable time from its acquisition. Without prompt
payment, compensation cannot be considered “just” for the property owner is made to suffer the consequences of being
immediately deprived of his land while being made to wait for a decade or more before actually receiving the amount necessary
to cope with his loss.[15] Such objective is more in keeping with the nature of a petition for review.

Unlike an ordinary appeal, a petition for review dispenses with the filing of a notice of appeal or completion of records as
requisites before any pleading is submitted. A petition for review hastens the award of fair recompense to deprived
landowners for the government-acquired property, an end not foreseeable in an ordinary appeal. This is exemplified by the case
at bar in which the petition for review before the Special Third (3rd) Division (CA-G.R. SP No. 47005) was disposed of way ahead of
the ordinary appeal filed before the Fourth (4th) Division (CA-G.R. CV No. 60365) in the Court of Appeals.

Inasmuch as the notice of appeal filed by petitioner LBP did not stop the running of the reglementary period to file a petition for
review, the time to appeal the decision of the Special Agrarian Court has lapsed, rendering the said decision final and executory.

WHEREFORE, the appealed RESOLUTIONS, dated February 15, 2000, and May 22, 2000, respectively, of the Court of Appeals are
hereby AFFIRMED.